NSA Intercepts Exceed Limits Set By Congress

05/16/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, according to government officials.

Several intelligence officials, as well as lawyers briefed about the matter, said the N.S.A. had been engaged in "over-collection" of domestic communications of Americans. They described the practice as significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to be unintentional.

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